Fish in cycle going nowhere.

Doc

Active Member
Member
Messages
88
Reaction score
0
Location
Bowling Green KY
Experience
Just started
I got a brand new 29 gallon aquarium about 5 1/2 weeks ago , got it all set up and ready to go with gravel substrate and well planted with fake plants all rinsed well, treated the water at the first filling for chlorine and let the tank sit for a week running.

debated between fishless cycle and fish in cycle, decided to go with fish in since the little extra work with the water changes did not bother me too much.

for the first 2 1/2 weeks I was running dual whisper 10-30I which I did not like and replaced with an aquaclear 70, I used both the media from the AC70 and from my old whispers to make sure I wasn't disrupting the cycle.

I also have an air pump and a bubbler.

I initially treated my water for the first filling and the first few water changes with tetra water treatment but have since switched to prime, not sure how relevant it is, but I had heard that they started treating the water here with chloramine instead of chlorine, and when I dose my tank with prime I follow the directions on the bottle adding 3 ML for my 30 gallons plus 1 extra ML for good measure - I also tested my tap water and it had some slight amounts of ammonia in it, less than .25 ppm, I am assuming due to the chloramine.

about 4 1/2 weeks ago ( 5 weeks this saturday ) I added 4 long fin zebra danios to my tank, ever since my ammonia has consistantly been between .25 ppm and just over .50 PPM, never going higher, or lower, never seen any trace of nitrites and have not seen any nitrates other than perhaps very very low trace amounts - I am using the API master freshwater test kit to test my water.

the water got cloudy for a few days, then went back to being crystal clear.


also after doing some reading around I read that tetra safe start with biospira formula is the best of the bottled bacteria which I read can be iffy, it may or may not work but shouldnt have any ill effects, so I added enough to my tank to cover its volume about a week ago and still no change.



is it normal to go 4 1/2 weeks fish in with no change at all? is something amiss? should I continue on as is and see what happens? this is my first aquarium and am really at a loss, I thought I would be ready for fish soon, or at least underway with the cycle , not sitting the exact same place I started 4 1/2 weeks ago.

 

sambofish

Active Member
Member
Messages
148
Reaction score
0
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Experience
1 year
Your tank never cycled. Do a water change with prime, wait 24 hrs then add TSS. You have to wiy 24 hours or prime can cause TSS to fail. Make sure you get a TSS that isn't expired shake well and use whole bottle or your tank then don't tank reading or water change for 2 weeks unless your fish are in major stress.
 

Jonez

Well Known
Member
Messages
618
Reaction score
4
Location
Silverton Oregon
Experience
5 years
Also test your pH. a drastically low pH will inhibit the cycle. pH should be at least 6.4 or higher.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
OP
D

Doc

Active Member
Member
Messages
88
Reaction score
0
Location
Bowling Green KY
Experience
Just started
My Ph is normal, in the 7.5 range.

I am aware my tank has never cycled, in fact it almost seems as though the cycle never began.

as far as the water change goes, I was doing 50% partial water changes and dosing prime for the whole tank volume every 2 -3 days up until I added the tetra safe start, Once I got TSS, I did a 60% PWC, dosed with prime, waited about 6 hours, then added the TSS and have not done a water change since, that was about 5 days ago.

since you say to let it sit for 2 weeks w/o a water change and not testing it, should I wait another week or so just to see if something starts to happen since its only been 5 days with the TSS in? or is my best option to do a very large water change as you said, dose with prime , let it sit a day, and add a new batch of TSS?

also, I think its worth noting, that my fish are not now, and have never shown signs of stress yet, in fact they act quite healthy and normal.

and one last piece of info, my water temp is kept steady right around 77.2 to 77.5

**EDIT** after doing some more reading around I am pretty sure the TSS did no good, I think I am just going to take your advice, get a new bottle of TSS, do a 90% water change, add prime or maybe even tetra aquasafe which I still have some of left from before I switched to prime, wait the 24 hours then add the TSS.

also, after reading around I am not quite sure if 4 fish is enough bio load for the TSS to prosper, considering adding a few more fish ( maybe 2 - 3 more )

any further thoughts / input / help would be hugely appreciated

 

TGV

Active Member
Member
Messages
322
Reaction score
5
Location
Vancouver Island B.C.
Experience
More than 10 years
I believe using Prime will mess with the TSS, you have to wait at least 24hrs after using Prime to use the TSS. Do a large WC and wait 24hrs the dose with TSS again.
 

sambofish

Active Member
Member
Messages
148
Reaction score
0
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Experience
1 year
Yeah 6 hours wasn't long enough. you should do a WC with prime then wait 24hrs then add TSS. Make sure you ph is at least above 6.5 before dosing. Then leave it alone no water changes, no testing just feed fish and enjoy them. Only test and do waterchange after 2 weeks. Seriously 2 weeks. 4 fish may not be enough it depends on bio load. Try 6.
 

jdhef

Moderator
Moderator
Member
Messages
14,348
Reaction score
3,470
Location
South Jersey
Experience
More than 10 years
Four danios in a 29 should be produce enough ammonia for the SafeStart to work, but adding a couple more probably would not hurt. Just a couple thoughts, if you are testing with the API ammonia kit less than 24 hours after Prime was added to the tank, you will get a false positive for ammonia. Also, unless you really shake, beat and pound nitrate test bottle #2 from the API nitrate test kit, you can get a false nitrate reading (and I believe it will read low if not shaken enough)
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
OP
D

Doc

Active Member
Member
Messages
88
Reaction score
0
Location
Bowling Green KY
Experience
Just started
Thanks guys, so my plan of action is I will do a very large water change and dose with prime ( should I double the dose just to make sure to take care of the chloramine?) wait 24 hours and add the tss then don't touch it for 2 weeks, sounds like a plan.

Would this be a good time to reconfigure my filters media to what I plan to use in the long run since I will be starting from scratch anyway?
 

Jonez

Well Known
Member
Messages
618
Reaction score
4
Location
Silverton Oregon
Experience
5 years
Doc said:
( should I double the dose just to make sure to take care of the chloramine?)
No. Regular dose is sufficient.

Doc said:
Would this be a good time to reconfigure my filters media to what I plan to use in the long run since I will be starting from scratch anyway?
Yes definitely.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
OP
D

Doc

Active Member
Member
Messages
88
Reaction score
0
Location
Bowling Green KY
Experience
Just started
ok, So I have a solid plan of action, going to do my water change right now and dose with prime, then tomorrow will add the TSS.

however, there is one thing nagging at my mind that won't let me rest, I am 4 1/2 weeks into my having the 4 fish in my tank, I only added the TSS a week ago, which means I had the fish in for 3 1/2 weeks and in that time the cycle never started on its own naturally, shouldn't something have happened in that 3 1/2 weeks naturally to begin the tank cycle process? I can wrap my head around why the TSS failed, but that has only been the past week of a 4 1/2 week process, what was going awry the rest of the time?

also, one last question lol, I have an aquaclear 70, I am going to use the sponge and the biobeads, I hear the carbon is totally useless, what other media would be good to use in there with those 2? just get some filter media and cut it to size and use it between the sponge and the beads? or would I be better using polly fill? how would I use the polly fill if that's the route I should go?
 

LyndaB

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
12,425
Reaction score
174
Location
Connecticut
Experience
More than 10 years
I've never used TSS and never plan to (it's a personal thing) but I believe I read that using Prime will cancel out the TSS. Did you follow the instructions to a "t"?

Edited to add: Oops, for some reason, didn't see the other responses in this thread prior to making my own. I'm sure someone's addressed this situation. Just ignore me.
 

Lilibeth_Seasong

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,453
Reaction score
10
Location
Northern MS
Experience
2 years
The usefulness of activated carbon has been debated for some time. Some people use it all the time, some only rarely, and some never. I came across this great article about activated carbon (AC) https://www.fishlore.com/activated-carbon-aquarium.htm You may want to look into it.

ADDED: I cycled my 55 gallon with TSS recently. I tested the water a week in out of curiosity and the cycle was already almost done! I was very happy with it.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
OP
D

Doc

Active Member
Member
Messages
88
Reaction score
0
Location
Bowling Green KY
Experience
Just started
jdhef said:
Also, unless you really shake, beat and pound nitrate test bottle #2 from the API nitrate test kit, you can get a false nitrate reading (and I believe it will read low if not shaken enough)
alright, let me start this reply by saying I am not a moron, I swear lol, for some reason beyond comprehension I never really shook any of the test bottles all to well.

now with that out of the way, I am not sure if this is a game changer or not, but I took all of the bottles from my test kit and shook the out of them, and I got much much different results this time.

I am still reading somewhere around .50 PPM ammonia I believe, zero nitrites, however it is showing me now I have somewhere between 20 and 40 PPM nitrates.

I am attaching 2 pictures of my water test results, 1 with flash 1 with out as it makes them look slightly different.



ntrates.jpgtrates 2.jpg

and lastly just to make sure I did a nitrate test on my tap water, there are some nitrates in there, looks like around maybe 10 - 20 ppm? here is a picture. the sample on the right is from the tap and the sample on the left is from my aquarium

trate 3.jpg


does this mean my cycle is underway? if I am showing trates why is there still ammonia? should I Leave it as is for a little while and see what happens or move forward with doing the big water change and redosing with TSS?
 

jdhef

Moderator
Moderator
Member
Messages
14,348
Reaction score
3,470
Location
South Jersey
Experience
More than 10 years
Your cycle was underway as soon as you added fish to the tank...it's just your progress appeared very slow. But since you have more nitrates than you started with, it appears some ammonia has been converted into nitrite (and then all the nitrites was converted into nitrate). So it appears you are on your way.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
OP
D

Doc

Active Member
Member
Messages
88
Reaction score
0
Location
Bowling Green KY
Experience
Just started
should I hold out a bit longer then to see what happens before doing a big water change and re adding TSS? if I am correct, if the cycle is moving a long, and I do a large water change and add more TSS it shouldnt effect what has already been established correct? just add more bacteria?

my gut tells me to hold off a week or so and see what happens since the fish seem happy, no signs of stress and have not done a water change since adding the first batch of TSS, but I am very very new at this and not sure if my gut feeling is worth a whole lot lol.

also if I do not do any water changes after adding TSS, should I hold off on replacing evaporated water as well?
 

Jonez

Well Known
Member
Messages
618
Reaction score
4
Location
Silverton Oregon
Experience
5 years
Just hold out and wait another week. Your cycle is on its way.
Don't replace evaporated water as you'll introduce chlorine and chloramine into your tank without being able to use prime
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
OP
D

Doc

Active Member
Member
Messages
88
Reaction score
0
Location
Bowling Green KY
Experience
Just started
I am considering picking up a small betta tank tomorrow to put in a different room of my house, probably something in the 3 gallon range, if I pick up a bottle of TSS to treat up to 15 gallons, and use approximately 1/3 of the bottle to get my betta tank rolling, would it hurt my currently cycling 29 gallon tank to pour the rest of it into there ? (probably right into the filter intake compartment ) or would it just be best to save it for a rainy day and not mess with my bigger tank?

**EDIT**

if I were to fill a 5 gallon bucket with water, treat with prime, and let it sit for 24 - 48 hours before use, would I be able to replace evaporated water that way?

How low can the water safely get from evaporation? Right now it is about 1/8 to 1/10th don't need, I realize its not dangerous yet, but at what point is it too low?
 

Lilibeth_Seasong

Well Known
Member
Messages
1,453
Reaction score
10
Location
Northern MS
Experience
2 years
If you go with a betta, you should probably get a least a five gallon. You will most likely need a heater as well.

TSS will not hurt your tank at all. You are just adding more good bacteria into your tank.

I would think evaporation would only be a problem if the water got so low (for a hang on back filter) that the motor was out of the water. I don't think that will be a problem unless your water evaporates VERY quickly though.

I don't know much about Prime, but that would probably be okay.
 

shelleyd2008

Well Known
Member
Messages
2,618
Reaction score
37
Location
Kentucky
Experience
2 years
If you are getting nitRATE readings then your cycle is almost finished. I would check the tap water for AMMONIA levels as this might be causing your ammonia readings when you do partial water changes.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
OP
D

Doc

Active Member
Member
Messages
88
Reaction score
0
Location
Bowling Green KY
Experience
Just started
hey shelley I see your from Ky, me too!

I do have some ammonia in my tap water, when I test it , it shows about .25 ppm ammonia.

after thinking about the high level of nitrates that were showing up in my tap water, it just was not sitting right with me, so I did a lot more in depth research and reading, as it turns out if you use the API nitrate test with out shaking it up good enough ( and I have used it 2 - 3 times with out shaking ) it will use more of one chemical than the other, so when you do shake it up the chemical balance in the bottle is off leading to yet more in correct results.

this makes me wonder if my last batch of tests were accurate after all, or also inaccurate just in the opposite direction.

do they sell just the nitrate test bottles on their own? I Might invest in some fresh chemicals and try it again, also it might behoof me to take a sample of my tank water to my local fish store ( or maybe petco ) and have them test it to see what they come up with.
 

New Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
136
Guests online
2,846
Total visitors
2,982

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom